NGSS and the landscape of engineering in K-12 state science standards

Tamara J. Moore, Kristina M. Tank, Aran W. Glancy and Jennifer A. Kersten

Recent documents pertaining to K-12 education have fostered a connection between engineering and science education to help better prepare our students and future citizens to better meet the current and future challenges of our modern and technological society. With that connection, there has been a concerted effort to raise the visibility of engineering within K-12 science education, which is reflected in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the recently released Next Generation Science Standards. As states look towards the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, it is important to take a deeper look at the shift in K-12 science education that is being suggested by these documents and what that means in terms of the potential changes for states that have chosen to adopt these standards. The main research question that has guided the work for this paper is: What is the extent and quality of the engineering that is present in state science standards and the Next Generation Science Standards? This paper will present a detailed analysis of the landscape of engineering in K-12 policy before and after the release of the NGSS through a comparative case study of academic state science standards and Next Generation Science Standards. This comparison provides insight into what the widespread adoption of the NGSS would mean in terms of potential changes in the way we implement science education in the United States.